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The Genetic Lottery

Rob Brooks and Kathryn Paige Harden

So there's this gene-environment interaction, but those gene-environment interactions also give us clues about where can we intervene environmentally to help people who are most genetically at risk. So it's not just the genes or the environment, it's the combination of the two together.

Kathryn Paige Harden

Our success is often attributed to merit, education and human nature… but how much of our lives is shaped by genetic ‘luck’? Genetic differences affect our lives in ways that matter, shaping our success and flourishing. 

In her groundbreaking first book, The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality, Professor Kathryn Paige Harden explores how this ‘genetic luck’ shapes important traits from personalities to health to educational and financial success. 

She argues that denying the importance of genetics has contributed to the corrosive myth of meritocracy. She calls for recognition and appreciation of how these differences can push society to extend opportunity and lives of dignity to all. 

Hear Kathryn Paige Harden in conversation with UNSW evolutionary biologist Rob Brooks, in a fearless discussion about how we are shaped by genetic inheritance, and how modern genetics can contribute to a better society. 

Order The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality from the UNSW Bookshop and receive a 20% discount.

The Centre for Ideas’ International Conversations series brings the world to Sydney.  Each digital event brings a leading UNSW thinker together with their international peer or hero to explore inspiration, new ideas and discoveries. 

Kathryn Paige Harden

Kathryn Paige Harden

Kathryn Paige Harden is a tenured professor in the Department of Psychology at UT Austin, where she leads the Developmental Behaviour Genetics lab and co-directs the Texas Twin Project. 

Harden received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Virginia and completed her clinical internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School before moving to Austin in 2009. Her research has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Huffington Post, among others. In 2017, she was honoured with a prestigious national award from the American Psychological Association for her distinguished scientific contributions to the study of genetics and human individual differences.  

She is the author of The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality which provides a provocative and timely case for how the science of genetics can help create a more just and equal society.  

Rob Brooks

Rob Brooks

Rob Brooks is Scientia Professor of Evolutionary Biology at UNSW Sydney, and is an international expert on the conflicting and evolutionary interests that make sex sizzle and render reproduction complex. He knows all about sex dolls, the role of digital lovers and the rise of new technology that is changing the nature of courtship. His book Artificial Intimacy charts what happens when love and technology collide. 

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